HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The charges against Sabrina Hendley in the case of the shooting death of her husband have been dismissed.
Hendley could have spent the rest of her life behind bars after deputies said she shot and killed her husband in 2018. Advocates stood in her corner, saying what led up to that night was years of alleged abuse and that she acted in self-defense.
Now years later, the charges against Hendley have been dismissed.
“I felt very grateful that the State Attorney and the lawyers who were assigned to the case took the time and put the energy in to look at the facts to consider the arguments that we raised and to consider them in-depth, not just for the sake of saying they considered them and reaching the decision that they did,” Hendley’s attorney Todd Foster said.
The Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office said in a memo as a result of their extensive review, they’ve determined that the charges, in this case, be dismissed because the state cannot refute the defendant's claims of self-defense.
“We undertook an exhaustive review to get this right — including consulting with multiple experts and uncovering new evidence that was not available to law enforcement or our agency when the case began,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said. “We go where the evidence and law take us, and had we known then what we now know about the serious domestic violence Ms. Hendley had suffered at her husband’s hands, she never would have been charged in the first place as she had a legitimate claim of self-defense.”
The memo outlined the steps they took in reaching this conclusion, saying their office conducted an exhaustive review of all available evidence and applicable legal standards.
“It was the right move because she was acting in self-defense,” Foster said. “She indeed was a battered spouse, and she was defending herself that night in our view, and that’s what was argued in the papers, that’s what was argued in the courtroom, and that’s what the experts were talking about, and Mr. Warren and his staff took another look at it and apparently agreed with us.”
Julie Johnson Weintraub is the founder of Hands Across the Bay. She said it is an organization they started about 12 years ago to give a voice to people who don’t have a voice, most known for their work advocating for victims of domestic violence.
Weintraub weighed in on the case and the significance of the dismissal moving forward.
“Women’s lives are no less important than men’s lives,” Weintraub said. “Every day, women are being beaten, set on fire, shot. I have multiple women with bullets, walking around with bullets in their heads and throughout their bodies. It’s enough. Enough is enough.”